The Best Shakshuka In LAThe next time you're craving something warm, spicy, and ideally bread-related as a first meal, use this guide.
Regardless of whether we’re schlepping out of bed at 12pm or trying to remember why we rode the bull at Saddle Ranch last night, our bodies tend to crave something warm, spicy, and ideally bread-related as a first meal. Shakshuka usually ticks all these boxes.
This spicy dish consists of perfectly baked eggs in a roasted tomato sauce with tons of garlic, paprika, and fresh bell peppers - all of which gets shoveled into our mouths with some much-needed bread on the side. Several cultures, spanning from Morocco to Israel, claim this dish as their own, meaning you’ll likely see it served at LA’s many Mediterranean restaurants across town. But if you’re looking for the best shakshuka in the city, check out these 10 spots.
As the saying goes: good things come to those who wait, including when you’re in the weekend brunch line at Republique and might just snap if they’re out of bombolinis again. But what makes the Hancock Park restaurant so great (and worth the line) is its versatility and sheer beauty. This is a perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and never misses the mark on quality and presentation. The same goes for their shakshuka, which is also beautiful and delicious with a roasted tomato sauce that’s a nice balance of tart, sweet, and spicy. The velvety eggs get some nice contrast from the dish’s crispy kale and chickpeas, while some fresh mint and a dollop of yogurt on top help cool everything down. There’s a little bit of everything going on here when it comes to temperature and texture, but it all works wonderfully together - especially with a side of LA’s best baguette.
Hasiba is permanently closed
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Hasiba in Pico-Robertson is one of the first places we go when we’re craving really good hummus, like their wild mushroom version with caramelized onions, tahina, fresh herbs, and chermoula, a North African sauce with tons of bright citrus and garlic flavors. But it’s also where we head for one of their favorite breakfast/lunch combos around: hamshuka (or humm/shuka on their menu), where their classic chickpea dip acts as the base for a tomatoey egg situation. Their dark, somewhat charred sauce comes out of the oven with gently poached eggs that look like white clouds floating in a tomato sky. The whole thing gets a handful of chopped chives, cilantro, and dill for a sharp finish and bite of freshness. Typically it comes with a side of warm pita, but their beautiful Friday-only challah might make the end of the workweek our designated hummus day.
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Brunch at this loungey Mediterranean spot feels like we’re at some kind of all-inclusive resort. And while you won’t have to deal with the sound of screaming children at the pool at this Atwater Village restaurant, you can still enjoy the sunny weather with their cabana seating and great outdoor bar. The food here also happens to be quite tasty with an Eastern Mediterranean and North African menu that showcases flavors like bright citrus, fresh herbs, sumac, and sweet dates. Their shakshuka in particular stands out with its flavorful tomato sauce. The dish’s base has the sweetness of roasted bell pepper, plus some heat and tang from some aleppo pepper. The yogurt topping definitely comes in handy when the aleppo’s spice sneaks up on us, and we like the choice of charred sourdough on the side for dipping.
Habayit is mainly known for two things: being one of, if not the only, kosher restaurant west of the 405 and frying up a very good falafel. They’re enough to put this Mar Vista spot on our radar, as well as their tasty matzo ball soup, but don’t miss out on the great breakfast shakshuka. The tomato sauce here is on the chunkier side, which we certainly don’t mind. We love letting the yolk run all over before scooping everything up with some warm pita bread. And if you’re into the idea of some hamshuka, the dish’s side of hummus helps you DIY some on a whim. Habayit’s take on the dish is tangy and tart from the tomatoes, with a bit of freshness from the sauce’s onions and bell peppers, plus it has a nice kick. It’s also a great size for ordering an extra side of falafel too.
Convincing anyone to navigate the Westfield Century City parking structure on a Sunday morning is a challenge in itself. But once you’ve made sure you won’t forget where you parked (again), you can treat yourself to a delicious Israeli breakfast at Cafe Landwer. One of its four U.S. locations and its sole California shop, this Tel Aviv-based chain has excellent brunch options that include an entire menu section devoted to shakshuka. The standard version comes as a silky smooth tomato sauce with two poached eggs and a side of nutty tahini and labneh. We’re more than content with the original, but sometimes we like to upgrade to the Med Shak with feta and roasted eggplant, or the Sinia Shak with tender beef kabob if we’re craving something heartier first thing. The great range of options make this an easy choice for when we’re on the hunt for a casual brunch, but we also have a soft stop for their za’atar crusted pita bread.
The LA Bottomless Brunch Directory
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Located inside DTLA’s Freehand Hotel, The Exchange wants you to know that she’s not like the other hotel restaurants. This corner diner has tall wooden ceilings with dangling plants, making it feel like someone’s private reading nook rather than a place in the middle of downtown. The menu is also super diverse, with most dishes having an Israeli spin to them to provide somewhat of a common theme. You’ll still find tons of non-Israeli dishes, like ceviche, a chicken banh mi, and a loaded breakfast burrito with chorizo next to salatim options and a Jerusalem bagel with za’atar-dusted soft scrambled eggs. Their spicy shakshuka divorciados is another example of the fusion on display here, which pays homage to LA’s Mexican and Middle Eastern communities. This baked egg dish comes with split sections of green and red salsa, each with a perfectly poached egg and a generous feta crumble. This non-traditional shakshuka still packs a healthy kick, but with the tangier flavors of tomatillo, chilis, and cilantro scattered throughout. Enjoy it with warm corn tortillas and their excellent za’atar flatbread because life’s too short to pick one over the other.
Fairfax can be a lot, and sometimes you need a little moment to yourself with a coffee and your thoughts. Mensch Café and Bakery is exactly that kind of refuge where you’ll find a delicious combination of French/Kosher baked goods like flakey croissants with lox and schmear or the glossiest selection of challah you’ll find in town. This place also serves a wonderful shakshuka with a side of that very challah. The sauce comes out a dark crimson red with a subtle smokiness and acidic kick to it while the eggs are wedged between plenty of onions, bell peppers, and a very healthy serving of fresh parsley to bring some peppery freshness. You can add feta if you’re looking for something a little more savory, or simply enjoy it as is with a side of olives and Israeli salad.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
There’s a lot to love about Lodge Bread, like their chewy bagels or nutty German rye bread or the famous cinnamon rolls that are roughly the size of a face and haunt us whenever we’re in need of a sweet treat. In other words, few places have mastered the art of baking quite like this Culver City spot, but we also like stopping by for more than just bread and pastries. Their shakshuka, for example, is reason alone to brave the weekend lines, and it comes with soft stewed tomatoes and hints of cumin and cayenne. It’s a very flavorful sauce with some nice sweetness coming from the roasted tomato mixed with the earthiness of the spice blend, all of which goes great with a side of freshly baked whole grain bread.
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Anytime we walk into a restaurant and make eye contact with a pizza oven, we immediately order whatever’s coming out fresh from the forno. Byblos Mediterranean Kitchen in La Crescenta-Montrose happens to have its own oven and cranks out excellent Armenian lahmajoun with crispy crusts, minced meat, and tons of fresh herbs. We also can’t recommend this restaurant’s cold appetizers enough, with their delicious muhammara, basturma (cured beef), and shanklish (dried cheese with olive oil and vegetables) being some top contenders. The shakshuka is also one of our favorites around and comes with plenty of bell peppers, onion, and chunky tomato sauce. The breakfast dish is nicely balanced with plenty of cumin and smokey paprika, and should definitely be part of your spread the next time you stop by.
Nua is a new-ish Israeli spot inside Beverly Hills’ Crescent Hotel that is very, well, Beverly Hills. But sometimes, a little extra flair is exactly what we’re looking for, and Nua’s food matches the setting. We love their gorgeous charred eggplant that’s roasted, peeled, and butterflied before getting topped with nutty tahini, oil, date syrup, and tangy tomato salsa. Their brunchtime shakshuka might not be as avant-garde as the dissected eggplant dish, but its bright red, slow-cooked tomato sauce is good enough for us. There’s a hint of heat but the garlic really shines through and we’re here for it. Besides the eggs also being perfectly cooked, we’re really big fans of the Jerusalem bagel - its sesame-coated crust and great chewiness make it ideal for dipping into runny yolks.